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Ellen’s Drinks Recipes


Foraged Chai Masala Recipe

I am not a tea drinker. I have nothing against it, but coffee is my go-to, hot beverage. But yesterday afternoon my thoughts turned to chai, maybe because it’s been cold and we got a late snow, maybe because I was in need of something warm and comforting, or maybe just because it was tea time. Once I realized that chai masala simply means tea blend, that opened up a world of possibilities. Freed from the recipes based on tropical spices, I came up with my own, foraged chai masala. It’s freakin’ amazing.


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Nettle Cordial Recipe (and a Bonus Cocktail)

Many foragers appreciate stinging nettles as mild-flavored, nutritious, spring greens. We use them in pasta, stews, and soups. But not everyone realizes that stinging nettles can also make a tasty wild beverage. Stinging nettle cordial is a refreshing herbal drink that can be enjoyed on its own or in a flavorful adult beverage. (more…)

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Prickly Pear Syrup Recipe (and a How-to Video!)

No matter how many times I cut open a prickly pear fruit (aka tuna) I’m surprised by its color. On the outside they’re a pretty pink, but cut the fruit open and bam! It’s a vibrant magenta you wouldn’t expect to find in nature. Prickly pear syrup is a great way to preserve both the flavor and color of this fruit, and it’s easier to make than you might think. (more…)

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Wild Ginger Syrup Recipe

Making wild ginger syrup is a great way to preserve our native wild ginger. In liquid form, wild ginger can flavor cocktails, soft drinks, sorbets, crepes, or marinades with its complex and versatile taste.

For years I’ve used wild ginger freshly chopped or dried and powdered. That’s great for baking, but liquids are better for certain applications. By making wild ginger syrup, you get both. When the syrup is done, you’ll be left with candied wild ginger, which can be frozen or dried, and used later as a spice. (more…)

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How to Make Your Own Foraged Bitters

What do bitters do? What purpose do they serve in a cocktail? When I first became obsessed with cocktails, I didn’t know the answer to that question. I knew bitters were originally conceived of as a medicinal, digestive stimulant but I didn’t understand that bitters lend dimension to a cocktail, adding a complex finishing touch. (more…)

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Happy Birthday Leda: A Wildcrafted Wineberry Cocktail Recipe

Wineberry season happens to coincide with the birthday of a very dear friend, so I named this wildcrafted cocktail after her. It combines the vivid beauty and flavor of wineberries (fresh or frozen) with the more delicate color and taste of elderflowers. Finish it off with your favorite clear spirit. Mine is The Botanist Gin. (more…)

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Verjuice: How to Make A Local Lemon Juice Substitute

What would we do without lemon juice? It’s an essential ingredient in both cooking and mixology, two of my favorite activities. Unfortunately, many of us can’t forage for lemons. Fortunately, those of us who don’t live in citrus-friendly climates, can probably forage for wild grapes, and the juice of unripe grapes makes an excellent lemon juice substitute called verjuice. (more…)

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Edible Flowers that are Truly Worth It!

I will never waste your time with garnish.

Yes, garnish is pretty, but if it doesn’t contribute something more, like flavor, scent, or surprise, it’s not worth my time. Or yours. (more…)

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The Enigma: a Summer Sassafras Cocktail Recipe

Who doesn’t appreciate a cool craft cocktail at the end of a hot summer day? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

If you live where there are sassafras trees, consider yourself lucky. It’s not only a beautiful tree in the landscape, but its three edible parts make it useful and tasty as well. Here’s my latest sassafras recipe. (more…)

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Sassafras Leaf Infused Vodka: Step by Step

That’s right. Sassafras Leaf Infused Vodka, aka Sassy vodka. It puts the wild in wildcrafted cocktail. (more…)

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